Arc Specialist Engineering Limited, formerly known as Bowman Birmingham Limited, is a group of steel processing businesses formed in March 2013 which manufacture and supply various specialist steel products. Its majority shareholders were Marc and Nathaniel Meyohas (Greybull Capital, a family-owned, family-run business, see its dealings with Tata, Morrisons and more). Over the years the number of employees has grown from 200 in 2013 to 500.
In July 2017 Mobeus Equity Partners backed Arc’s management team buyout and refer to a partnership with the Arc managers.
Its strategies: to differentiate services and find niche markets
- As UK manufacturers facing overseas competition, the Arc companies look for manufacturers of products that won’t travel well, because items that are easy to dispatch overseas face competition with countries such as China, South Korea and Taiwan.
- They have found that small-volume manufacturing accesses markets that larger competitors wouldn’t enter, such as the pre-coated non-stick bakeware market. Many bigger coil coating businesses are coating 100,000 plus tonnes of metal per year; while Arc’s subsidiary Cooper Coated Coil (below) coats just under 20,000 tonnes per year.
- PVC window and door reinforcement products access markets which require lower run quantities, more frequent deliveries and more product variety than larger firms are interested in offering.
- Because relatively small amounts are manufactured Arc’s companies are good at ‘changeovers’ – converting an assembly line or machine from running one product to another
- Its system enables the managing director of each business to be close to customers and employees within the business, providing not only the product itself, but also knowledge, advice and an excellent service, building strong long-term relationships.
Over Greybull’s four years of ownership, time and resources were invested to turn Arc around. Andy Richardson, who leads the current management team, said: “The past four years have seen a transformation of Arc into a profitable growing business, with hundreds of jobs saved along the way, all made possible by much-needed investment in our manufacturing capabilities. We are immensely excited about the next stage of our journey, which would not have been possible without Greybull’s guidance and support. We are very grateful for everything they have committed to the business”.